What it means when heavy-duty trucks are also 'Virtual Vehicles'

What it means when heavy-duty trucks are also ‘Virtual Vehicles’

Integrated real-time data aims to enhance heavy-duty trucking fleet efficiency, safety and productivity.

Heavy-duty trucks live two lives. The first is obviously out on the road, doing the job. The second isn’t as visible. It’s a digital existence where data creates a picture of that truck’s operation and feeds information to efficiency, productivity, safety, and service solutions, to name a few. Frankly, that second life is the one that fleet managers most often engage with. Truck data drives fleet improvements. Just as those solutions are increasingly integrated into fleet managers day-to-day workflow, so too are the solutions that generate that data integrated into trucks.

Take Platform Science’s “Virtual Vehicle” as an example. It’s Platform Science software that is pre-installed by the truck OEM—the likes of Daimler Truck North America, Navistar, and PACCAR—that enables uniform, real-time data collection and transmission that includes vehicle location, fuel consumption, driver behavior, and maintenance needs. There’s no hardware to install. The trucks roll off the line with it already available. It’s a level of integration that Jake Fields, co-founder and chief technology officer of Platform Science, hopes will lead to even deeper integrations.

“If a fleet has a dispatch application, they can send information over into an ELD app for a bill of lading, it can send over information into a navigation app to add waypoints for fuel routing,” he explained. “Those apps can be pre-integrated and remotely dispatched so that app to app communication starts to become extremely important. Otherwise, it’s up to each and every fleet to integrate these solutions on their own, which is a huge barrier to entry, and then, ultimately, they don’t get the efficiencies that they’re looking for from these solutions.”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It can be difficult to wrap your head around a “Virtual” vehicle. For that, we connected with Fields who brought the technology down to layman’s terms and gave even more examples of its use and future applications. Watch the video for all of his insight.


No script? No plan? No problem. Welcome to Fleet Equipment Unscripted—the video interview series that connects you with the greatest minds in the heavy-duty trucking world. Fleet Equipment Unscripted is sponsored by Hendrickson.

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